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Full text of "The ethics of marriage and divorce"

The Ethics of 
Marriage and Divorce 




BY 

REV. A. E. ALLIN 

PORT LAMBTON 

ONTARIO 



^Sj-^yrK 



"The Leaflet dealing with the subject of Marriage 
and Divorce published by Rev. A. E. Allin, of Port Lamb- 
ton, Ontario, has been read with very great interest., 
The discussion is timely and must be very helpful to 
Pastors who are preparing addresses upon the subject, 
and to people who are really desirous of fully under- 
standing the subject dealt with. We very cordially com- 
mend it to our Ministers and People." 

T. ALBERT MOORE, 
General Secretary Evangelism and 
Social Service, Methodist Church. 

"I have read with great interest your treatise on 
"The Ethics of Marriage and Divorce." Your message is 
timely, scriptural, and scholarly. Our day needs such a 
word as you have spoken and I hope it may have a wide 
circulation for the good it will mean to the State, to the 
Church, and to humanity." 

GEO. T. WEBB, 
General Superintendent, 
Baptist Church, Canada. . 



Copies of "The Ethics of Marriage and Divorce" can 
be had from the Author, Rev. A. E. Allin, Port Lambton, 
Ont., at 5c. each; 25 for $1.00; 100 for $3.75, postage pre- 
paid; 500 for $8.50; or $30.00 per 1000, by express. 



The Ethics of Marriage 
and Divorce. 



a AND there came unto him Pharisees tempting Him 
g\ and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away 
A^\ his wife for every cause? And He answered 
• * and said, Have ye never read that he that made 
them from the beginning made them male and 
female and said, For this cause shall a man leave his 
father and mother and cleave unto his wife and the twain 
shall become one flesh. What therefore God hath joined 
together let not man put asunder. They say unto him, 
Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce- 
ment and to put her away? He sayeth unto them, Moses, 
because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to 
put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not 
so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his 
wife except for fornication, and shall marry another, 
committeth adultery, and he that married her that is put 
away committeth adultery." Matt. 19:3-9. 

The text is a statement made by our Lord on the sub- 
ject of marriage. The Pharisees had come to Jesus with 
a catch question in order that He might be led to com- 
mit himself and so run counter to the generally accepted 
standards of his day. But Jesus embraced the opportun- 
ity to declare the mind of God on the whole marriage 
question, and as the subject of marriage, including di- 



vorce, is a live and pressing issue in the world today, it 
will be well for us reverently to study His Words. 

We shall study — 

1st. The duty of marriage ; 

2nd. The nature of marriage ; 

3rd. The purpose of marriage; and 

4th. The proper grounds of divorce. 

First, then, the duty of marriage : 

The Christian Church, taken as a whole, has pro- 
bably never held the true conception of marriage. Early 
in the Apostolic age the Apostles, influenced by the dis- 
tressing persecutions of the time, and by the hope of the 
speedy return of the Lord, discouraged marriage for a 
time — "For the present emergency," wrote Paul. In ad- 
dition to this, the lofty spirituality of the early believers, 
coupled with a wrong view of the purpose of marriage, 
made them feel that marriage was incompatible with the 
highest spiritual state. Prof. Ruschenbush describes the 
situation in these words — "Marriage, too, was regarded 
by many of the early church teachers as a lower moral 
condition, a relation necessarily involving physical defile- 
ment, a compromise with the fallen life of humanity, a 
concession to the weakness of the flesh. It was a relation 
not good in itself, but simply a preventive of licentious- 
ness, needed by the weak." Thus the sentiment in favor 
of celibacy slowly spread, and in process of time the celi- 
bate state became invested with a superior moral sanctity 
which developed into a prohibition of marriage for the 
clergy and the official encouragement of the cloistered 
life for the laity, so monasteries and nunneries sprang 
up everywhere. Not that Christianity originated the 
idea of the cloistered life — it was borrowed from the 
heathen world. 

The Reformation changed this view to a more scrip- 
tural one. "Marriage is honorable in all" became the 
watchword, although the duty of marriage was not em- 
phasized. There was probably no need at that time that 
it should be. All that seemed to be required was that 
that most sacred of human relations should be recognized 
as holy and in harmony with the will of God. 

But times have changed. Altered industrial and so- 



cial conditions have made it necessary for us to get back 
to the Bible on this question. Marriage may no longer 
be regarded as optional. Duty must be emphasized. 
Wedlock has all too long been considered a matter of con- 
venience and money has been very largely the arbiter, 
both as to the time of marriage and in the choice of a life 
partner. The words of the Saviour have practically slept 
for nineteen hundred years, and the world as well as the 
kingdom of God has suffered in consequence. 

Jesus was asked a question concerning divorce, and 
in his answer said, "He which made them from the be- 
ginning made them male and female, and said, For this 
cause" — or for the reason that they were made male and 
female — "a man shall leave his father and mother and 
shall cleave unto his wife." In other words a man shall 
recognize God's plan for the race and get married. The 
law is a positive one, based on a fact of nature. "Mar- 
riage," says one, "owes its institution to nature, its per- 
fection to law, and its holiness to religion," and the thing 
that essentially constitutes marriage, according to Jus- 
tice Carbonneau, is "the consent of a man and a woman 
to unite together for common life and the preservation of 
humanity. This is not only the basis of the contract, but 
it is the contract itself; the sacrament is simply a form 
which gives it solemnity, and the civil functions are but 
another form which gives it publicity, authenticity and 
civil effect." Now "the consent of a man and a woman 
to unite together for common life and the preservation of 
humanity" cannot be neglected without loss — every 
way, physically, morally and numerically. It may be 
said, speaking generally, that the highest physical devel- 
opment is attained in the married state. One has only 
to compare the receding form of the unmarried woman 
with the plump, robust figure of the "joyful mother of 
children" to be convinced that the latter and not the 
former state is according to God's order. The fact also, 
as is borne out by statistics, that married persons of both 
sexes live longer than single ones is sufficient evidence 
that wedlock is the normal human relation. 

Moreover, the problem of social vice in town and city 
will not be successfully dealt with so long as reformers 
try to cure the evil by repressive and rescue measures 
only. The social evil ought to be and may be suppressed. 
It must be kept under the ban of law and denied the light 
of day. To allow an evil to live under restrictions, even 



6 

the severest, is to give license to it, and lessens its hein- 
ousness in the public mind. The state is the law guard- 
ian of public morals, and she cannot afford to license any 
form of immorality. But the vile traffic will still flourish 
in spite of law, in spite of social purity efforts, until 
God's positive law be complied with and men and women 
recognize their duty, not only to become husband and 
wives, but fathers and mothers. If the monasteries and 
nunneries "with all the powerful religious incentives to 
purity that a most exacting and abandoning consecration 
could give them could not save them at times from run- 
ning riotously into the social sin" there is not much like- 
lihood that those who lay no claim to a Christian life will 
avoid for long this deep ditch. Something can undoubt- 
edly be done by law. The state can see that immorality 
shall not become a business, but it is the duty of the 
church to show the people what is the divine law, and to 
tone up the individual conscience on the subject. Rev. 
Josiah Strong says, "Our main hope in the social crusade 
must be in the rousing, the development, the education of 
the moral sense of the community. We must exalt and 
insist upon, and show the ideals of the body, of the sexual 
life, of marriage, of motherhood and of fatherhood. We 
must show correspondingly the degradation, the danger, 
the moral baseness of impurity, unchastity and every vio- 
lation of the body and of the sexual life." In other 
words, the moral sanctions of God's holy law must be im- 
pressed upon the public conscience and at the same timq 
there must be plainly laid down the obligations of true 
citizenship which is the natural safeguard against this 
form of evil. Paul is very illuminating here. Speaking 
to mankind generally he says — "To avoid fornication let 
every man have his own wife and every woman her own 
husband," (1st Cor. 7:2). This passage, it must be borne 
in mind, is to be understood in the light of the context, 
for. taken by itself it would seem to regard marriage as 
simply a preventive of fornication. But Paul only recog- 
nizes the fact that human nature is weak and points out 
the natural safeguard against fornication and then indi- 
cates the proper sex relations in the married state. The 
bed must be undefined, or in other words, there must be 
self-control. Th.e_g.auge of liberty is made to be the de- 
sire or need of the other and not one's own passion, con- 
sequently this law becomes at once a safeguard against 
immorality on the one hand and a prohibition of incon- 
tinence on the other. The whole passage reads, "But be- 



cause there is so much fornication every man should have 
a wife and every woman should have a husband. Let a 
man pay his wife her due, and let a woman also pay her 
husband his. A married woman is not mistress of her 
own person; her" husband has certain rights. Do not re- 
fuse one another, unless perhaps it be just for a time and 
by mutual consent so that you may devote yourselves to 
prayer and may then associate again; lest the adversary 
begin to tempt you because of your deficiency in self-con- 
trol." (Weymouth's translation). 

2nd. The nature of marriage — 

Some base marriage on religion, some on love, and 
some on civil law. For the first' the sanctity and indis- 
solubility of wedlock depends on the pronouncement of 
the church. Those who claim mutual love as the basis 
seriously inquire whether there can be any true marriage 
if love be wanting, and they are ready to dissolve the 
union if either hear grow cold. But Jesus takes differ- 
ent ground. The true foundation for marriage according 
to His teaching is moral. Many considerations, such as 
love, culture, age and education should have great weight 
in the choice of a life-partner because all these power- 
fully affect for good or ill the marriage relation, but they 
form no basis for this holy relationship. Marriage has 
been declared a sacrament by one great branch of the 
Christian church. This is a logical deduction from the 
materialistic theory of the kingdom of God. In secular 
parlance a sacrament is an oath and sacred because all 
oaths are sacred, but religiously a sacrament is a symbol 
of a spiritual reality and a pledge of union with the body 
of Christ, which the marriage ceremony is not; so the 
sacredness of marriage cannot depend on the authority 
of the church. 

But though marriage is not a sacrament, its sacred 
and enduring character should be impressed upon all 
those entering upon such a union. The Word says God 
has joined them together. The agreement of a man and 
a woman to unite for common life and the preservation of 
humanity is true marriage, yet it is one of the functions 
of the Church to "solemnize" such a marriage in God's 
name — providing always that the contracting parties 
purpose to live together according to the Scriptures, oth- 
erwise the Church has no right to pronounce upon it the 
sanction of God. To the Church God has committed His 



8 

oracles, and when she acts according to His Word or His 
Spirit she has His authority. Both the Church and the 
world must needs recognize this fact. The Church pos- 
sesses a delegated, or rather a mediating authority; an 
authority not given once for all and henceforth to be in- 
dependently exercised. The Spirit speaks and acts only 
through those who "Walk by the Spirit," and no indivi- 
dual and no church is authorized to speak for God ex- 
officio, though both the individual Christian and the 
Church are to be God's mouthpieces. The Lord said to 
Aaron, "And on this wise shall ye bless the children of 
Israel" and added "And I will bless them;" though later, 
when the Israelites became corrupt, God said "When ye 
spread forth your hands (to pronounce the benediction) I 
will hide mine eyes from you." (Isa. 1:15). A like au- 
thority is given in the New Testament— "Whatsoever ye 
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatso- 
ever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," 
the continual leadership of Jesus being assumed. "With- 
out Me ye can do nothing" is as true in relation to the 
government and sacrament of the Church as it is in the 
winning of souls. When God speaks it is the privilege 
and duty of the Church to say Thus saith the Lord and if 
His word be a blessing it is the privilege of the Church to 
pronounce that blessing. Let the State give license to 
proper persons to marry and determine their civil rela- 
tions to each other and to the State, but let the Church 
pronounce that they are husband and wife together so 
long as they both shall live. Thus marriage will have its 
proper legal safeguards and its moral sanctions will also 
be preserved. 

"And the twain shall become one flesh" is a wonder- 
ful statement, and yet physiologically and psychologi- 
cally true. A scientific study of the subject reveals the 
fact that "A physical blending of beings that is truly 
marvelous" takes place in both the united persons even 
when the union has been of comparatively short dura- 
tion. The peculiar and lasting effect the bearing of 
children has on the mother — how that her very nature is 
permanently changed — partaking of the nature of the 
father of her offspring — is more or less widely known. 
But a corresponding effect of married life on the hus- 
band, though not nearly so marked, is not so generally 
recognized. By way of illustration: "An Englishman 
went to the West Indies, and while there married a Mul- 



9 

latto wife. They had no children; and after twelve years 
of married life together the wife died. The bereaved 
husband returned to England, and in course of time mar- 
ried an English woman, the couple remaining in England. 
The remarkable thing about this marriage was that the 
child born of this union was a Mulatto. (We do not con- 
tend that this remarkable occurrence was wholly due to 
the influence of the wife upon her husband; environment 
in the West Indies undoubtedly counted much, but the 
fact remains). This is only one of many instances which 
eould be adduced to show how truly, though strangely, 
the twain become one flesh. 

Further, the interests of two persons are made iden- 
tical. "In order for me to realize the fullest possible life; 
in order that I may discharge my obligations to God and 
my country, another life must be added to mine; two 
wills must be blended into one common will. Another 
life comes to be my own because of what it demands and 
of what it confers." 

Spiritually, this union is a type of Christ and his 
Church. Christ is represented as the Bridegroom and 
the Church as the Bride. The Bride, like the Bridegroom, 
must be holy and without blemish. John in his apocalyp- 
tic vision sees the Bride clothed in fine linen, clean and 
white, a token of her purity, "for the fine linen is the 
righteousness of the saints." "In their mouth was found 
no guile, for they are without blemish before the throne 
of Go.d." "This beautiful moral condition of the Bride 
John contrasts with the deep dyed scarlet of the Harlot, 
who, though "decked with gold and precious stones and 
pearls, is full of her abominations and the filthiness of 
her fornication." The Bride and the Harlot are morally 
at t he antipo des of each other. The contrast is not mere- 
™ on the surface, it is deep and fundamental, for this 
blending of beings is not confined to the married relation. 
Paul contends that the same thing holds good when forni- 
cation is committed. "Know ye not that he that is joined 
to an harlot is one body?" and because of this awful fact 
"He that committeth fornication sinneth against his own 
body." Have we rightly apprehended the enormity of 
this sin, or the unspeakable vileness of it ? Paul speaks 
of this^ vilest of human relations as the very antithesis of 
a Spiritual one, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one 
spirit." Social impurity is the lowest possible degrada- 
tion of the body, while this spiritual union with Christ is 



10 

its highest possible exaltation. Surely "the body is not 
for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the 
body." 

It should be carefully noted that the singular number 
"wife" is used, not "wives." Jesus did not use language 
in a loose way, and his words show he had no thought of 
plural marriages in his mind. It is sometimes argued 
that what was right for the Patriarchs is right for us. 
But did God have his way with the Patriarchs? The 
Bible gives no encouragement to plural marriages, and 
Jesus declares plainly what was in the mind of God from 
the beginning. One man, one woman, was clearly the di- 
vine plan, and the story of Adam and Eve in the garden 
of Eden illustrates it. Ruschenbush says again "The 
harem has always been the curse of oriental life. The 
fact that some of the people of God practiced polygamy 
only shows that the popular conscience had suffered an 
eclipse in this regard. David's harem presents a vivid 
illustration of a polygamous household." The harem is 
not the home and can never take its place. The true 
home is the dearest place on earth and the best earthly 
type of heaven, and it is love that gives the home its qua- 
lity, but when love is diffused it loses its strength and 
purity. The deeper the love the more jealous it is of a 
rival, and when jealously enters in, hell is the result, for 
"Jealousy burneth like fire." It has been well said that 
"A true union is one of mind and soul, for which cause 
among the brutes no place for thee is found." Any dis- 
turbance of this naturally harmonious relation ought not 
to be permitted. Jesus gives no quarter to the harem; 
"shall cleave unto Bis" wife" — singular number. Paul 
further emphasizes the same principle in directing that 
a bishop or deacon — as a pattern in all things — shall be 
the husband of one wife. 

In order also to develop the highest qualities of mind 
and heart, and to safeguard the rights of children, mono- 
gamous homes are necessary. Not the individual, not 
even man and wife, but the family is the social unit. 
Love would probably die out, at least in its highest ex- 
pression, without marriage, love and legitimate children. 
"Among the lower forms of animal life, such as that a- 
bounding in the water, where there is np sex relation, 
there is no such thing as love. But as the forms rise 
higher and the instinct to pair is manifested, love is seen 
to rise also and become purer and more pronounced. 



11 

Mother love is the earliest form of love and is sex-born, 
(in some forms of animal life the mother finds it neces- 
sary to defend her young from the voracity of the father) 
and the love of a mother continues to be the deepest ex- 
pression of that sublimest of passions." 

3rd. The purpose of marriage — 

We have already dealt with that phase of the purpose 
of marriage which relates to the common life of a mar- 
ried couple, and it remains for us to consider the all-im- 
portant question of the preservation of humanity. In 
this both sexes are vitally concerned, but especially wo- 
man, as this is her special function. Woman's co-opera- 
tion in social, industrial and political life, is hers by right, 
and has been denied her too long, but it must be remem- 
bered that the task of promoting and serving life is an an- 
tecedent call upon her, and necessarily limits her activi- 
ties in other directions. "What shall it profit us to im- 
prove the quality of life if we let the supply fail?" The 
revolt from the old idea that marriage permitted free ex- 
pression to the male passion and if life resulted it must 
be welcomed because God sent it, is justifiable. A truer 
idea must take its place. Both a more positive and a 
higher note must be struck. "Be fruitful and multiply 
and replenish the earth" is the divine mandate to both 
sexes. This all important matter is not left to caprice, 
passion, or human selfishness. Paul emphasizes this duty 
by directing, even in a time of great hardship and cruel 
persecution, "that the younger women marry, bear child- 
ren, guide the house, etc." It takes a thousand genera- 
tions of continuous upward trend to develop a holy seed, 
and if the propagation of the race be largely left to the 
vicious and degenerate it will take millenniums yet be- 
fore the kingdom of God shall come. The Spirit of God 
is undoubtedly the source of all the good in the world, 
though we are not to think each individual starts back in 
the alpha of human goodness. The divine influence in 
one generation remains as a moral inheritance in the 
next; and so mankind makes progress faster or slower, or 
else goes back into barbarism, according as God is al- 
lowed to have his way, or otherwise, with each genera- 
tion. What should consecration to God involve? Should 
it mean only the consecration of the powers by which the 
outward activities of life are carried on and not the pow- 
ers that promote and serve life itself? Can any one 



12 

claim to be consecrated to God when the reproductive 
powers are left out of the consecration? Large families 
are sneered at by superficial persons who know not what 
they say nor whereof they affirm. To raise a large fam- 
ily with inherited moral principles of a high order plus a 
godly training is to make no small contribution to the 
kingdom of God, besides, contributing to the state its 
most valuable asset. The poet who mourned that "Many 
a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness 
on the desert air" failed to consider that the flower is the 
womb of the future plant from which must come all that 
is possible in plant life. The early Greeks considered a 
ship in full sail at sea, a ripe field of wheat waving in the 
wind, and a woman with child the three most beautiful 
sights in the world? Were they wrong? Is not life's 
highest expression always beautiful? And is it not 
bound to be more and more beautiful as the diviner quali- 
ties in human life are expressed? The greatest glory of 
womanhood is that it is potentially hers to mother an in- 
creasingly better and nobler race. 

The abominable practice of limiting families by 
means is murder, and is alarmingly prevalent. May the 
public conscience bbe aroused on this subject and a gen- 
uine repentance take place ere the judgments of God over- 
take us. "Thou shalt not kill" covers all human life at 
whatever stage. Life is not more sacred at one stage of 
development than at another; all is God given, and only 
God himself has the right to take it away. One of the 
tragedies of our age is that many who sing "God hath 
made us and not we ourselves" do not scruple to kill, ere 
it come to the birth, the highest order of life God is able 
to make on the earth. Nor can this sin be committed 
without the sinner paying the penalty of outraged nature 
in her own body. The prevalence of a disease known as 
"uterine insanity" and the large number of deaths direct- 
ly due to prenatal infanticide is a terrible witness against 
the too common practice of this sin. 

Birth control, or perhaps more properly speaking, 
life control, is another though kindred question. Prem- 
ising sufficient vitality in the parents, there is probably 
nothing at all to be said in favor of a small family and 
everything to be said in favor of a large one. This state- 
ment may seem overdrawn, but considering the argu- 
ments we have heard advanced in favor of a small as 
against a large family we do not hesitate to make it. 



13 

That the parents of small families have more time to give 
to the mental and moral culture of their children is plaus- 
ible in theory but that such children receive superior 
culture is contradicted by the facts; and that the larger 
family tends to greater poverty is nothing to dread. 
When we remember that no nation has ever yet long sur- 
vived wealth we may, indeed we must, consider the com- 
parative poverty of the large family a mighty blessing in 
disguise. "Woe to the land to hastening ills a prey; 
where wealth accumulates and men decay" always has 
been and probably always will be true. Andrew Carne- 
gie writes — "You have no need to fear the competition of 
rich men's sons," and the Book says, "Thou settest the 
poor on high from affliction and makest him families like 
a flock." Moreover, as a recent female writer says, Why 
are these vaunted means of limitation nasty and demora- 
lizing? Because they are unnatural in themselves and 
in their results. In themselves they do away with all ro- 
mance and spontaneity in the sacred intimacy of married 
life. They diminish, without absolutely preventing, the 
natural results of matrimony, and by removing the sanc- 
tions of duty and responsibility they degrade marriage 
into a mere physical union, deprived of all moral and 
spiritual significance. These "preventives" necessarily 
tend to make sexual pleasure the sole end of marriage, 
and in doing so they remove from husband and wife the 
check on things lawful, which is provided by the know- 
ledge that privilege and gratification have appropriate 
co-relatives of duty and responsibility. It is strange that 
the use of preventives should be approved and advised by 
women, because such use, by removing the fear of conse- 
quences, make them defenceless against undue demands 
on their wifely benevolence." When we know also that 
incontinence is a prolific source of nervous debility and 
various consumptions — the weaker of the twain becoming 
the sufferer, we need to take the more earnest heed to our 
ways. Moreover, in more senses than one, the country 
needs mothers. Motherhood denied is motherhood still; 
but motherhood rejected is motherhood crucified. Moth- 
ers of large families sometimes adopt an orphaned child, 
but the mother of one or two cannot find room in her 
household for another child, the real reason being that 
she cannot find room in her heart. God pity a race with- 
out mothers. 

Fourthly, The question of divorce — 

Because the severance of the marriage tie is contrary 



14 

to God's moral order, man is forbidden to grant a di- 
vorce, excepting only when the marriage bond is already 
broken by one of the contracting parties. In his sermon 
on the mount, Jesus says, "Whosoever shall put away his 
wife for any cause save for fornication, causeth her to 
commit adultery, and whoso marrieth her that is put away 
committeth adultery." The innocent victim of a divorce 
allowed by Jesus Christ may re-marry, but the offender 
may not; and no Church may make lawful what God for- 
bids. Many will say this is a hard law; there are many 
unhappy marriages. Surely ill-mated couples are better 
separated and each allowed to re-marry. 

The disciples were of the same opinion. They said, 
"If the case of a man be so with his wife it is not good to 
marry." As if to say, Better to remain single that have 
an unhappy married life. But Jesus told them in reply 
that only a natural defect or some great call of God 
should stand in the way of marriage. The desire to 
sever the marriage tie when the union is not a congenial 
one is very natural, but does not work out for the best 
interests of mankind. Man would like to escape from the 
consequences of all his mistakes and sins, but this is not 
ordained of either God or man. Every transgressor of 
natural law, being a willful one or otherwise, pays the 
penalty. No doubt the more waywardness and sin there 
is in human nature, the greater will be the hardship in 
being bound by a perfect law, but this is an argument 
against the state of sin, not the law. Probably nothing is 
more needed by the human family than the discipline of 
self, and certainly nothing is more valuable. Many an 
individual has arrived at a rare beauty of character, not 
simply in the face of trial, but by means of it. Indeed 
few, if any, attain to any real soul culture without passing 
through deep waters of trial and suffering. Not all un- 
happy marriages are failures. 

But there would be fewer unhappy marriages if the 
lust of the eye and the pride of life were less frequently 
the determining factors in the choice of a life-partner, 
and a more Christian and a more sensible view of the pur- 
pose of marriage prevailed. Dean Mathers says "Divorce 
is a domesticated, pathological individualism. It can 
mostly be prevented by sanctified common sense, the prac- 
tice of common-place self sacrifice, and the revived devo- 
tion to the upbringing of children." Divorce means the 



15 

disintegration of the home, which spells the destruction 
of the nation. When once the marriage bond is loosely 
held there is no safeguard left for the sexual life. So 
that wherever divorces are easily obtained adultery flour- 
ishes. "But to the married I give charge, yea, not I but 
the Lord, that the wife depart not from her husband; but 
should she depart, let her remain unmarried or else be re- 
conciled to her husband, and that the husband leave not 
his wife." 

We are slow to learn that all God's laws, natural and 
revealed, are the very best thing for us, and the highest 
good of the individual and the race can only be secured by 
obedience from the heart to the law of service, and that 
individual selfishness tends to the destruction of all. "I 
beseech, you, therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye 
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable un- 
to God which is your reasonable service." This is the on- 
ly normal, free and glad life; anything less is sin. 



i